For the community of Copper Creek Elementary School, there is no treat sweeter than the human sundae.
Each year, the school brings together its students, facility and parents to raise funds, cool down and have a little fun all leading up the main event: the chance to cover the principal and a lucky teacher with sundae toppings.
This year, as the winners awaited their chocolate syrup-covered fate, the crowd chanted “Cherry on top!” “Cherry on top!” “Cherry on top!”
Copper Creek’s Hawk Walk, an annual fundraiser put together by the PTO, has been a tradition for nearly 20 years. It is a chance to raise money for things like technology, shade structures, field trips and even fixing up the marquee out front.
On Aug. 23, Copper Creek celebrated another new school year with a morning of music, water and whipped cream. This year, students raised over $14,000.
PTO secretary Kim Evans said that while the money collected from this event allows them to provide much needed supplies and opportunities for the student body, it’s really about the experience for students.
“It is a fundraiser, but more importantly, it’s something we can do together at the beginning of the year to show we are more than a school, we’re a community,” she said. “That’s what Hawk Walk is all about...coming together as a community, raising money for the school and providing memories that these kids will have forever.”
The students started their day greeted by favorite characters like Paddington Bear and local mascots like the Rialtor from Rialto Theatre.
Volunteers from the school, PTO and local high schools all wielded squirt guns to cool participants down as they took their hawk walk around the school field. Members of Golder Ranch Fire District even stopped by with the fire engine to join in on cooling the campus down.
“Seeing the kids as they pulled up, I mean you just watch them, it's hot and it's humid and these kids are all smiling,” Evans said.
Though, there is plenty of reward in the fun-filled day, the most coveted of prizes is a spot in the Messy Zone and a chance to turn principal Kristjan Laumets and a special teacher into sundaes.
Fifth-grader Khloe Laumets was one of the five lucky winners to show off her sundae skills, and took extra joy in decorating her father, the principal.
“It was fun,” she said. “It was my first time (in the Messy Zone).”
Principal Laumets has become a seasoned pro—this marked his third time in the sticky seat.
“It gets easier and easier every year,” he said. “For sure, you have to have earplugs, just embrace the crazy and then shower, bath, shower afterwards; that's the rule.”
For Laumets, the tradition is one that he is happy to be involved with.
“It’s just a great community event to bring everyone together and it's one of our direct giving campaigns that really supports our kids and classrooms,” he said. “PTO raises a bit of money and it buys things like technology, events, field trips and other amazing things that make our school and community what it really is.”
Third grade teacher Madison Tidwell was chosen for the second seat in the Messy Zone after earning the most pennies in Penny Wars, a game that functions as another way to collect funds.
Tidwell is a first-year teacher and thought putting her name in the bucket was the best introduction to the school she could imagine. Appropriately, it was also her birthday and the students sang to her as the whip cream sat on her head.
“Honestly, that was one of the best things I have ever done,” she said, as chocolate dripped off her hair. “Go big or go home. It’s kind of like getting baptized into the Copper Creek family as a sundae.”